Patients with chronic opioid prescriptions will be offered a free packet every six months. When the packet is emptied into a pill bottle with warm water, the ingredients convert powders, pills, tablets, capsules, liquids, or patches into a non-divertible and biodegradable gel. The packets are free of charge and available at 4,700 Walmart and Sam's Club stores with pharmacies.
Once the pills have been dissolved, it's relatively hard to extract the opioid as well, DisposeRx CEO John Holaday told reporters on a call.
"The health and safety of our patients is a critical priority", said Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of consumables and health at Walmart U.S.
Customers filling opioid prescriptions at Walmart pharmacies will get a free solution that makes leftover opioid medications safe to dispose of the trash.
Other developed countries are not experiencing the same rates of people dying from opioids as Americans, which experts say could be because opioids are prescribed significantly more in the United States than other countries.More news: USA faced defeat on global level: Hassan Rouhani
More news: Ford 300-mile all-electric SUV may be named Mach 1; due 2020
More news: Pirates' Andrew McCutchen To Be Traded To San Francisco Giants
Although the offer of DisposeRX for free is coming as a result of the opioid epidemic, the product works on any type of prescription drug, according to Holaday.
Walmart already was among pharmacies that drugs.
More than 63,000 people died of drug overdose in 2016, up 21 percent from 2015, with about two-thirds of those deaths caused by opioids. However, the retailer does not accept the return for disposal of the drugs that it sells.
Wal-Mart touted the DisposeRx offering as the "first of its kind" because it allows patients to dispose of unwanted or expired pills at home.
It's a smart idea, one that can prevent unused medications from entering the black market. "Too frequently, those harmful narcotics stay un-secured where children, visitors or teens may have access", Arkansas Senator John Boozman said in an announcement. "I commend Walmart for taking this innovative approach to help keep unused prescription drugs out of the wrong hands".